Enough of Making Video Games into Movies Already

Yahtzee Croshaw

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Enough of Making Video Games into Movies Already

Video games are better than films, and continually get better, while films are stuck in the two hour linear story format forever.

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Nazrel

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.Hack manged to spread itself successfully across multiple forms of media; the fact it takes place in an MMO was likely to it's advantage.
 

Covarr

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I would like to see a video game adapted into a successful TV serial. But not a kids' cartoon like Pok?mon. Something serious that you might see on AMC or Showtime.

P.S. Thanks
 

Gul

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Would Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy count? It came as a book series, a radio show, TV show, and a movie - all of them different enough that I might give them a pass.
 

Casual Shinji

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I always look at Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie as one of the few examples were a videogame movie can deliver some entertaining fluff. But yes, as time goes one, rendering technology becomes more advanced, and performances more believable, there's even less of a point in trying to adapt games to film.

I wouldn't say games are better than movies, because I like the idea of having a quick, well-paced story play out infront of me at about a two hour running time. But when it comes to the action blockbuster games certainly seemed to have surpased movies. Mad Max: Fury Road is the one exception, but summer action epics do fuck all for me anymore. Uncharted 4 has given me greater satisfaction in that regard than almost the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe combined.

And I think I heard that the Uncharted movie was actually canceled. *crosses fingers*
 

Neurotic Void Melody

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Are films really a mark of prestige for these IPs? Or are they more about reaching to a wider audience, like a gateway drug to videogames? I know some people who watched the Hitman film and were inspired to try the games. Granted, these were females who inevitably fancy the pants off bald Timothy Olyphant, but it's a bloody start, right? They found themselves enjoying the games, so i'd chalk that up as a positive. I think maybe you're getting a little over defensive of your videogames, they don't need protecting from the big bad movie business. There will always be cash grabs, but that does not mean it cannot be done well, it's just the reasoning going into these projects are often cynical. And what was wrong with Prince of Persia?? Ben Kingsley frowns upon you!! :)
 

CyanCat47_v1legacy

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Pokemon has successfully built a cannon over several forms of media but that might have something to do with the fact that animation is an integral part of game design. also pokemon was created with a multi-media focus from the beginning. the animated pikachu will always be the icon of the franchise because it managed to fully and authentically realize the vision of the creature before the games could get close to making it so real. with the exception brnding the rules in favour of the protagonist when drama demands it the anime is also 99% faithful to the games
 

someguy1488

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Xsjadoblayde said:
Are films really a mark of prestige for these IPs? Or are they more about reaching to a wider audience, like a gateway drug to videogames? I know some people who watched the Hitman film and were inspired to try the games. Granted, these were females who inevitably fancy the pants off bald Timothy Olyphant, but it's a bloody start, right? They found themselves enjoying the games, so i'd chalk that up as a positive. ...
I think this is a good idea, using films as marketing tools rather than a point of prestige. Kind of like how toy makers used TV series as ads for their figurines.
It might help filmmaker's narrow the focus and actually make a decent film. This could be the 'Glorified toy commercial' for adults.
 

Thanatos2k

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Nazrel said:
.Hack manged to spread itself successfully across multiple forms of media; the fact it takes place in an MMO was likely to it's advantage.
But the problem with .Hack is the games were pretty bad, with a disastrous premise from the start. Simulating an MMO in a game gets you a half baked RPG and a terrible MMO.
 

Mike Fang

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When it comes to the association between films and video games, it's one I think can become a mutually beneficial relationship, but only when the participants in these two different mediums have mutual respect, and don't turn it into some kind of dom/sub relationship akin to 50 Shades of Grey. Overall the prevailing attitude among film producers seems to be looking down at video games like some bastard child they're embarassed to acknowledge no matter how talented they are. The producers, writers and directors seem to have little to no respect for the audiences that enjoy video games because they tend to keep to the attitude that there's nothing thought provoking in what they continue to see merely as an electronic kiddie toy. Among Hollywood actors, there seems to be somewhat more respect for the medium, at least with newer generation actors, most likely because over time some of them have actually helped work on video games, providing voice acting talent, and so they've gotten exposed to the actual thought and craft put into writing plots and stories for games.

Meanwhile, on the game devleopers' side, as Yahtzee said, they seem to put a lot of stock in getting their franchise or individual game made into a film. My reasoning, and I think Yahzee himself may've been pointing to this too, is that reason so much stock is put into having your creation made into a film can be summed up in one word: validation. To some game makers, it seems as though the game-to-film treatment is the only way possible to get the world at large to recognize them as a "real artist." Although sometimes I suspect there may be some haughty attitudes on the game developer's sides as well, since often games made as tie-ins to films show a distinct lack of effort that mirrors the lack of quality in game-to-film adaptations. However, nowhere on the film industry side does there seem to be a mirror for the more submissive attitudes sometimes seen among game developers toward film companies.

Thankfully this doesn't seem be an across-the-board attitude, as some game developers like Hideo Kojima have shown they have more self-respect for their work. In fact, the not-too-long-ago cancellation of "Silent Hills" takes on a new level of tragedy when you consider it was being co-developed by both Mr. Kojima and Guillermo del Toro. It was a sign of mutual respect; a renouned film director working together with a renouned game designer. Thankfully there were reports after the cancellation that the two would be working together on a different project, so there's still hope, but for the corporate heads to have killed this project was a terrible decision (as Jim Sterling likes to say, "Fuck Konami!"), both for the franchise and for the game industry. Silent Hills could have been a bridge between the film and game industries that showed when the creative minds of the two industries regard each other as equals and cooperate on those terms, they can produce something great.

Now, personally I'm not down on films as a medium. While games do provide interactivity to open up all sorts of ways to reach an audience, sometimes a passive role is needed in order to ensure the desire message is brought across. The gravity of a scene could be lost if during dialogue between characters you could make the player-character jump on the NPC's head and do an Irish jig. Also if one maintains constant control of one's character, it can be possible to miss critical moments by looking in the wrong direction. Game developers can try to avoid this by drawing attention to setpiece moments, but no guarantees can be made unless control is taken away from the player momentarily to ensure they're not going to miss something critical. That's partly why I don't mind cutscenes; they ensure key plots developments don't get lost. They also allow a player-character who has a voice, face and personality of their own to be seen and to act as they naturally would (as opposed to the teabagging douche they may act like, depending on who's controlling them). If it's in service to the plot and is well done, I don't have any objections to cutscenes. Conveying a desired message is worth a moment of non-interactivity, in my opinion, as long as opportunities to take advantage of a game's interactive nature aren't squandered in the rest of the game.
 

BrawlMan

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Casual Shinji said:
I always look at Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie as one of the few examples were a videogame movie can deliver some entertaining fluff. But yes, as time goes one, rendering technology becomes more advanced, and performances more believable, there's even less of a point in trying to adapt games to film.

I wouldn't say games are better than movies, because I like the idea of having a quick, well-paced story play out infront of me at about a two hour running time. But when it comes to the action blockbuster games certainly seemed to have surpased movies. Mad Max: Fury Road is the one exception, but summer action epics do fuck all for me anymore. Uncharted 4 has given me greater satisfaction in that regard than almost the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe combined.

And I think I heard that the Uncharted movie was actually canceled. *crosses fingers*
I agree with you. Yahtzee statement comes off as elitist; something he chastised Robert Ebert (the old fucking prick) for. There are movies I don't like nor would I ever spend $6-$10 at at theater, let alone at a standard price for a DVD/Blu-Ray. But at the end of the day, I don't mind sitting on my ass and watching a movie; especially if it's good or entertaining in the "so bad, it's good" territory.

As far as good video game to move adaptions, here's my list:

Street Fighter II: the Animated Movie

Fatal Fury I & II - The third movie is just meh and boring

Mortal Kombat

Bayonetta - Yes, there was an anime movie adaption.

Resident Evil: Damnation & Degeneration - They're not perfect, but both films are leaps and bounds above all of the live-action movies.

Double Impact - The last one I'm cheating, but it's a better Double Dragon movie than the "official" licensed movie. It's obvious whoever made this movie had to be a closet fan of Double Dragon. There are too many similarities for it to be a huge coincidence. Also, it's one of the Van Damme's best, and showd that he's does have good acting range.
 

Jorpho

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The Phoenix Wright movie is probably the best video game adaptation I've seen ? but considering the games were barely a step up from a visual novel already, it's not much of a stretch.

The first Tomb Raider movie at least had some interesting visuals and not much pretense. I never saw the second, but I might like to some day, if I have nothing better to do.

Smilomaniac said:
The sooner people start asking for niche content, the better. I'd rather play a game or see a movie that I didn't completely understand, than being bored out of my skull.
Have you seen the Super Mario Bros movie? It doesn't get much more niche or incomprehensible than that. Probably the best thing that can be said about it is that they at least started out with the guts to try to make something genuinely creative and different ? but they lacked the guts, talent, and budget to see it through to the end. We will almost certainly never see the likes of it again.
 

Hawki

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"There is something to be said for the Assassin's Creed solution, of doing a side story within the game universe. But I can't think of any franchise that successfully built a canon spread across multiple forms of media."

Um...

-Assassin's Creed (in that it had an EU long before the film)
-Dead Space
-Defiance (not sure if "successful" is the word though)
-Diablo
-Dragon Age
-Fable
-Final Fantasy
-Gears of War
-Guild Wars
-Halo
-League of Legends
-Mass Effect
-Metroid
-Mortal Kombat
-Overwatch
-Perfect Dark (might be stretching "successful" though)
-Resident Evil
-Sonic the Hedgehog
-StarCraft
-Warcraft
-Warhammer (both branches)
-Wing Commander

Bear in mind, that's only off the top of my head, and only confined to games. Expanded universes are very prolific.
 

Hawki

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Also, might as well make this a second post as they deal with different aspects. The demand "stop making games into movies" on the basis that movies will always be inferior to games.

Few points:

-Declaring any medium to be superior to another is always going to be based on preference.

-How many movies can you say are superior to the books that they're based on? What about movies adapted from stage plays? Speaking personally, there's only a few movies I consider superior to their novel sources, and movies based to stage plays tend to be on the level, since a stage play leaves more room to interpretation (e.g. compare Brannagh's Henry V to Olivier's). That said, I don't recall anyone demanding to stop adapting novels. Yet games should stop because...reasons. If the reason for not adapting something is that the adaptation will never be as good as the material it was based on, then the rationale is that adaptations should stop altogether.

-This isn't even confined to those mediums. I can name only a few movie novelizations that surpass the movie they were based on. I know only a few games based on movies that are genuinely great. There's a reason why "lost in adaptation" is a phrase in the first place.

-I don't think people seeking to adapt games into movies is a sign of insecurity. I can grant that part of it may be based on the idea that "this is popular, lets make a movie" (lord knows that might explain Tetris or Fruit Ninja), but that's a poor reflection on movie studios rather than the games they seek to mimic (as the saying goes, "imitation is the greatest form of flattery"). Also, I'd argue that there's plenty of decent videogame movie adaptations, but yet to be a "great" one. It's that rarity like films surpassing the source material, or the even rarer instance of a novelization surpassing its film. If an Uncharted movie fails, it doesn't reflect poorly on Uncharted in of itself, anymore than, say, failing to adapt His Dark Materials through The Golden Compass reflects poorly on the book itself.
 

MythicMatt

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Interactive entertainment being made into a source for uninteractive entertainment is a bad thing. Very few exceptions.

Well, ok. Some things lend themselves well to movie adaptations [Anything with story>everything else], while others don't [gameplay>story>everything else].

I think it'd be great if 'walking simulators' were instead short movies, since then it'd be easier to see if anyone wants more of that story. But you can't really take something like No Time To Explain and make a movie from it.

The solution of, rather than converting a game to film, making a film based in the same universe could be the better solution. As long as it doesn't violate the established canon, it can be as ambitious as needed.
 

BrawlMan

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Hawki said:
"There is something to be said for the Assassin's Creed solution, of doing a side story within the game universe. But I can't think of any franchise that successfully built a canon spread across multiple forms of media."

Um...

-Assassin's Creed (in that it had an EU long before the film)
-Dead Space
-Defiance (not sure if "successful" is the word though)
-Diablo
-Dragon Age
-Fable
-Final Fantasy
-Gears of War
-Guild Wars
-Halo
-League of Legends
-Mass Effect
-Metroid
-Mortal Kombat
-Overwatch
-Perfect Dark (might be stretching "successful" though)
-Resident Evil
-Sonic the Hedgehog
-StarCraft
-Warcraft
-Warhammer (both branches)
-Wing Commander

Bear in mind, that's only off the top of my head, and only confined to games. Expanded universes are very prolific.
Thank you.

There's also Streets of Rage 2 comic and novel adaptions, though you have to live in the UK for that one, but thanks to the Internet; you can read it on fan sites.

Also, with the Sonic example, they did a special crossover by having characters from other classic Sega franchises suchs as Golden Axe and Billy hatcher. They even included Capcom characters too. Speaking of which, Mega Man. The recent comics, and the cartoon from the mid 90s. Though the latter was cut-short despite good ratings.

Udon's Street Fighter comics and side-stories are held in high-regard as well. The Viewtiful Joe anime was great as well, but for some reason, whoever dubbed the first season never bothered with an English dub for the second season.
 

Saelune

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Just because they are bad doesn't mean it cant be done well. First though, movie makers have to fucking RESPECT THE SOURCE!

I'm still hoping for a Hitman movie. What? You say they already made two of them? Yeah, and Edward Cullen is a true vampire. A Hitman movie is easy. Step one: Cast Agent 47's game voice actor a Agent 47. He already sounds like him and guess what! He was 47's visual basis, so he looks like him too. Step two: Original plot in the game's canon. Hitman is set up to keep going. 47 just keeps working. Hes not trying to destroy the One Ring, defeat Ultron, or find his family. As long as he is willing and able, and people need elaborate killing, hes got a motivation. Step three: DONT MAKE IT AN ACTION MOVIE! If Agent 47 is in the middle of the street shooting people in day light with explosions, you're doing it wrong. Make it a thriller, make it suspenseful, hell make 47 the antagonist. Blood Money framed the plot as an FBI agent telling of 47's jobs to a reporter. That could work for a movie too.

The problem is people who don't care about the source are making the movies. My favorite movie is Perks of Being a Wallflower, a movie adaptation of a book. The movie version though, was written and directed by the fucking author of the book! He did have to modify things from the book, but being the guy who made it, he knew what he was trying to say, even if it was said differently. If they ever were to make a Metal Gear movie, Id want Kojima in charge of it. (Yes I know it wont happen for numerous reasons, but this is all about hypotheticals anyways)